(Toronto) At the trial of Canadian rocker Jacob Hoggard, accused of sexual assault, a young woman testified Friday that the singer had turned into a “monster” after he brought her to his hotel room, when she was 16 years old.
The woman, one of the two plaintiffs in this lawsuit, burst into tears on Friday morning, describing her meeting with the singer of the group Hedley, on September 30, 2016.
She told jurors that she tried to fight off Hoggard’s assaults, for several hours, as he kissed her, then pushed her onto the bed and repeatedly raped her, vaginally and orally, and attempted to do it anally.
At various times, she testified, Hoggard pushed her face into the pillows so she couldn’t breathe, spat into her mouth, slapped her, called her a “bitch” and “whore” and told her that was what she deserved. He didn’t use a condom, she said.
“I was…laying there on my back crying and telling him to stop and he wouldn’t stop,” she said tearfully, adding that she had tried to free herself several times, but she was in control. The young woman explained that her mind had finally “closed” as she focused on surviving the attack.
Earlier, for months, and until they reached the hotel room, Hoggard had been loving and caring, emphasizing that he saw a future with her and that she should trust him, said said the woman in her testimony. This sudden change felt like a “betrayal,” she said.
“That’s where the biggest change happened,” she said. This person who makes you believe this fairy tale about love and romance and sweetness and kindness [has turned] into this monster; a human who has no compassion, no empathy. »
The Crown alleges that Hoggard violently sexually assaulted the two women in Toronto-area hotel rooms in 2016, in two separate events. The two complainants, who cannot be identified, had traveled to Toronto to see him. In an agreed statement of facts, it is stated that the singer had a “sexual relationship” with the two complainants when they visited his hotel.
Jacob Hoggard was charged in 2018 with two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual interference with a person under 16. He pleaded not guilty to all three counts.
On the stand Friday, the woman said she was able to grab her cell phone after Hoggard went to the bathroom. She remembers texting a friend who knew she was meeting the singer and asking that friend to call pretending to be her job.
Once Hoggard came out of the bathroom, she told him she had to go to work early and he called the limo driver to bring her back, the woman said.
While they waited, she said, Hoggard tried to chat, joke with her, talk about recent vacations, and “slowly get back to the person I recognize,” she said.
When they parted ways, the musician said he was glad she came and hoped to see her again, she testified. She said she replied, “I think I just want to get out of here, don’t touch me, don’t talk to me. »
The woman said Hoggard messaged her while she was in the limo but blocked him on all platforms. They never spoke again and she never went to another Hedley concert, she said.
The driver took her to her friend’s house, she said. The woman said she told her friend what happened and her friend suggested she take a shower.
As she undressed, she noticed that her underwear was “full of blood”. She had bruises on her back, buttocks and legs and ached in various places, she claimed.
She waited more than a week to tell her mother what had happened and went to the hospital a few days later, she said.
The woman said she didn’t initially report it to the police because she just wanted to move on, but it “didn’t work out” and she experienced flashbacks in her memory, panic attacks and nightmares. She finally reported it to the police in 2018.
Under cross-examination, the woman admitted that she could have left the hotel room while Hoggard was in the bathroom. But she maintains that she did not know how to get home and that she had not thought to call a taxi, because she had never called one before. She also worried that Hoggard would notice she was trying to leave, she said.
The defense also suggested she could have called someone else, or even 911, but the woman said she did not want to involve the police at the time. The friend she texted was one of two people who knew where she was and the person most likely to respond quickly, the woman argues.
Defense attorney Megan Savard further suggested that the woman took screenshots of some of the text messages she exchanged with Hoggard and gave them to the police, but she did not. included the messages that allegedly showed that she had come to Toronto to have a sexual relationship with Hoggard.
The woman denied the suggestion, saying she only took screenshots of the early messages out of excitement and after the September 30 incident, she couldn’t bear to look through their conversations.
On the first day of her testimony, Thursday, this first alleged victim told the court that she had first encountered the singer in the parking lot of a hotel after a concert she had attended when she was 12 years old. She then began to communicate directly with him after an arranged meeting with the public; she was 15 at the time.
She explained that as time progressed, their conversations took a more sexual turn, especially when they started using the Snapchat app — where messages and pictures are only visible for a short time.
At some point, they started exchanging naked pictures. Hoggard also allegedly sent her a video of him masturbating, according to the woman’s testimony.
In his messages, the singer would also have told the young woman that he loved her and that they could both have a long-term relationship. “I felt almost in a relationship with him,” she confided in court Thursday.
A few weeks after the texting conversations began, he arranged for her and two of her friends to travel to Toronto to see the Hedley Band, and offered them backstage passes, she said.
Once backstage, Hoggard allegedly touched the complainant’s buttocks several times, which made her feel uncomfortable. She claimed she tried to pull away or grab the singer’s wrist in hopes he would understand she wanted it to stop.
In her testimony on Friday, the young woman told the court that they tried to organize a day of shopping and sightseeing in Toronto in the weeks that followed, but the plan fell through. Over the next summer, she and Hoggard kept in touch — he even called to wish her a happy birthday when she turned 16, she said.
“When he called you on your birthday, did he know how old you were?” asked Crown prosecutor Kelly Slate.
“Yeah,” she replied.
They eventually rescheduled their meeting for a day in September, and the woman said she expected them to stick to the original plan of shopping, dining out, and visiting—she also believed that the other members of the group and their manager would be present.
Based on the nature of some of their text messages, she thought it was possible Hoggard was “trying something,” but wasn’t anticipating anything beyond an attempt to kiss him, she told the court.
Nonetheless, she believed that if she said no, “he would respect that” and their day would go as planned, she said. Even after being brought to her hotel, the woman maintains that she believed it was only their meeting place, before then going elsewhere.
In its opening statement on Thursday, the Crown argued that the second plaintiff met Hoggard in November 2016, after running into the singer on Tinder when the band Hedley was in Ottawa. Later that month, they planned to meet in Toronto, and the Crown alleges Hoggard “repeatedly” raped her for several hours in his downtown hotel room.
The two women, injured, were abandoned like this, bleeding, by their attacker, according to the prosecution.
The trial will resume on Monday.